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The 16 best apps for a summer trip in France

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The 16 best apps for a summer trip in France
You can use your phone for more than just selfies. Photo: Remy Gabalda/AFP
17:46 CEST+02:00
If you're in France this summer then these are the apps you need to make the trip a smooth one.

1. Provence & French Riviera

This local guide has plenty of information on the must-see attractions in the region, restaurant listings, information about history and culture, plus phrasebooks and maps. It's part of the Mobile Reference France series which also covers several other cities and regions across the country.

How the French Riviera will change the way you live

2. France Guide With Me

This travel guide has much more than advice on which sights to see. It provides local advice, from safety to standard costs, road rules, phrase lists and off-the-beaten-track guides. Plus, you can use it offline so avoid any roaming charges.

3. France Billet

If you're looking for things to do, France Billet shows you listings of concerts, theatre shows, sporting events, films and festivals near you. It shows you reviews, times and locations (in French) so you can make sure you find out about the coolest events nearby.

4. Météo-France

Météo-France offers detailed, up-to-date weather forecasts (in French) across the country - and the world, in fact - with accurate hourly updates from French meteorologists. You'll even get notifications to alert you to any change, so you shouldn't get caught out by unpredictable showers.

5. France travel guide

This free app contains city guides for over 100 French cities, including monuments, restaurants and nightlife. It works offline and also includes maps, weather forecasts, a currency converter and phrasebook, plus general information on France. When you're connected to the internet, you can even see up-to-date events listings.

Kimseewald, an iTunes user, said: “I used this app to find things to do around Paris. There were a lot to choose from in every price range. I would highly recommend this app!

6. SNCF

Figuring out public transport in another country can be a bit of headache before you even factor in the possibility of strikes, delays or works, so the official app for France's train company should come in useful. It will help you plan routes, find your nearest station, and give you departure and arrival times with real-time updates. Depending on where you're going and how you plan to travel, the company offers several other apps, which you can find here.

Tourist Dave Slaughter said in his review: “Travelled when the strikes were on, and this app still gave me all the right times.” 

7. WiFi Free France

Connecting to WiFi means you can use all the apps on this list, as well as your other favourites, throughout your trip without having to use your phone's data. This app shows you your nearest free WiFi hotspots so you can work out when you'll next be able to connect to the Internet.

One Google User said “Pretty neat app for tourists!”

8. Brocabrac

If you want a taste of authentic French life, and maybe a couple of bargains to take home with you, try visiting one of the many flea markets that pop up across the country each weekend. On Brocabrac you can find a list of the fairs - as well as information on the times and number of stalls - on the app by searching by city or region. It's in French but should be easy to navigate, with picture symbols to show what kind of market each one is.

9. The Fork

France's cuisine is a big draw for many visitors, but you don't want to fall victim to tourist traps. TheFork allows you to read over 3 million customer reviews of a huge variety of restaurants, making it easy to choose where to eat. You can also save on future meals, with discounts offered by many participating restaurants, and make reservations within the app. It also works in Spain, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland so is particularly handy if you are planning a trip around Europe. Another, France-specific, option is L'Internaute, which has user reviews for 56,000 restaurants across the country.

Marlene Franke said: "We used this app while on holiday in Paris. It is a wonderful and reliable resource."

10. AlloCab

Use the AlloCab app to book rides not only around Paris, but in several other French cities. It's in French but easy to follow, allowing you to book a car with just one click and get a fixed price for your cab - regardless of traffic. You can track your driver on the map to see how close they are, and receive a text message when your car is nearly there. Alternatively, Heetch is similar to Uber but only works at night, so ideal if you miss the last train back to your hotel. It's available in Paris, Lyon and Lille.

"Awesome experience. Visited France recently, and had the best driver I ever had! I recommend this service to anyone!" said one AlloCab user, Andrei Pervychine.

11. Flight+ and Flightradar24

Individual airlines and airports have their own apps, but with Flight+ (iTunes) and Flightradar 24 (Google Play) you can track all your flights in one place, and find out information about the route, terminal and gate needed, and any changes or delays. It includes layover information and terminal maps of most major airports so that you can make any transfers without hassle.

Nigel Devitt said of Flightradar24: "Brilliant! Probably the most used app that I've downloaded."

And for those visiting Paris there's a whole other list of use useful apps to download.

12. MyCityHighlight 

This app gives you local recommendations of the best tourist attractions, restaurants and shopping areas that Paris has to offer, and travellers rate them. Filter your highlights depending on your needs, with sections for families, night time, rainy days and free wifi spots. The app includes up-to-date info on events like festivals and exhibitions, as well as practical tips ranging from ATMs to public toilets.

“When traveling in Paris city, you should install and use this application. It's like a real tour guide,” user Goku Hn wrote on the Google Play store.

13. Via Michelin

Travelling by road? While it's not exclusive to France, Via Michelin is an essential app to have, offering real-time traffic updates and GPS voice guidance to avoid getting lost down winding rural roads or caught up in congestion. You can also ensure you don't fall foul of the law; speed restrictions are on permanent display and you'll get an alert if you're exceeding them. As well as helping with navigation, the app also directs you to tourist sites, car parks, services and restaurants in the area.

“Excellent. For touring France it is essential,” said Paul Spankie in a Google Play store review.

14. Rick Steves Audio Europe



Although Paris is the only city currently covered, this app is another one that works well if your visit to France is part of a trip around Europe, and it's a work in progress, meaning more areas should soon be available. Travel writer Rick Steves' audio guides mean you can get all the information about the sights, history and culture of France in your pocket. There are tours for different museums and districts of several cities, and PDF map downloads accompany the audio tracks.

“Absolutely brilliant” says Anirban Roy.

15.  Essence Petrol App

This is the most comprehensive petrol app in the country, and helps you find the closest and cheapest station to a radius of up to 50 kilometres. This is a crucial app to download if there are more fuel shortages like France saw in May. 

16. Learn French Vocabulary Free

Knowing a few basic phrases is a huge help in France. There are many great language-learning apps out there, but this is one of the few which are 100 percent free, and its versatility means it's perfect for any kind of traveller. With lessons targeted to every level from beginners or advanced learners, you can choose from different topics including business, dating and general travel. A listening-only mode allows you to multitask, learning vocab while driving or doing something else, plus the offline mode means you won't rack up roaming charges.

User Mikayil Eliyev said: "Super! Would definitely recommend to anyone, especially for beginners!"

Heading to Paris? Here are ten essential free phone apps

Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris

 

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